I did a post last week about the description of ultimate black and white print quality. See the original post here
Here is an extract from those who commented and offered definitions. I have added any further comments in blue.
Michael J Kravit – A truly expressive black and white print allows the viewer to see through the heart of the photographer. To feel what he felt, to see what he saw and to experience the image in a sensual and complete way.
Hi Michael that is an interesting view that reflects other thoughts on the subject. Thank you Andy
Stephen G Hipperson – “When looking at a high-quality black-and-white print, we want to see a smooth gradation to the highlight areas. This means that the diffuse highlights, those with some detail, have a tonal separation from the specular highlights, which will print paper-white. The middle grey tones must also have a definite separation between each tone; the shadow areas must be broken down into one black area with some detail and another area of total black. The darkest shadow area is the foundation upon which we will base all of our other tones. We need that area of true, saturated black to help define our tonal range.” – Bob Casagrande, “Better Black-and-White Darkroom Techniques” Blandford Press, Poole 1982. Picked the book up in a charity shop. Seems a simple objective description to me so may not be what you want.
Hi Stephen thanks for taking the time to comment. This quote raises a very interesting question – where do you draw the line between technical perfection and artistic vision? I feel to answer that question you first need to have the ability to produce technical perfection and have the vision to see beyond what everybody else sees to gaze in to the heart of the photographer and their personality. Andy
Stephen G Hipperson – An interesting question. As to the quote, I don’t think it recognises any artistic qualities, the sort of thing a judge of a photographic competition would love – does the print meet these criteria? Yes! Then it must be good.
I can see both sides of the argument and tend to think of ‘technical perfection’ and ‘artistic vision’ as two separate sliding scales that somewhere along the line cross, each relying on the other to produce a final outcome – and that mix doesn’t have to equal 1 (if you get my drift). I’m sure you’ve seen many technically superb pictures which provide absolutely no depth of vision, no artist input – essentially a technical exercise.
On the other hand, there may be many an artistic vision realised without an iota of technical deliberation (accidental it might seem).
Does either have more worth than the other?
Hi Stephen my feeling is that I would rather be and work with people who have artistic vision. Those who seek technical competence will be able to learn it. The flip side of my last sentence is a much more challenging endeavour for those seeking creative awareness, perception and judgement. Andy